26. Teresita Fernandez

Teresita Fernández b. 1968, Miami, Florida Nocturnal (Cobalt Panorama) solid graphite on wood panels, 2012 The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art Gift of Barbara '68 and Theodore '68 Alfond Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College 2013.34.71 Teresita Fernández is an artist well-known for large-scale public sculptures and installations made from such diverse materials as thread, aluminum, acrylic, plastic, and glass beads. Although these are industrial materials, Fernández transforms them into forms and shapes that suggest natural phenomena such as waterfalls or sand dunes. This places her along a lineage of artists who explore the relationship between the power of nature and the development of technology. In her sculptures and drawings, Fernández often leverages non-traditional media to create optical illusions of motion, dissolution, and illumination. In Nocturnal (Cobalt Panorama), graphite is carefully manipulated to produce the appearance of choppy waters and frothy waves. The curved contours of the clouds imply a sense of motion, and they seem to sweep across the surface of the water. They help to pull the viewer’s gaze across the expansive scene. The whitish sea foam on either side of the image breaks toward the center, which allows the two-dimensional picture plane to open up into a third dimension. This establishes the illusion of an infinite horizon line, giving the seascape a vast depth. Fernández’s pairing of a conventional subject with an unconventional material reinforces her interest in combining the natural with the industrial or mass-produced. At the same time, the pairing merges tradition with contemporary technique, and the piece provides a space for the past and the present to co-exist.